Labour wants to work with the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council on a “broader” definition of what constitutes antisemitism, Andrew Gwynne, the party’s Shadow Communities Secretary has claimed.
Asked by BBC presenter Andrew Marr why his party was refusing to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism - including the extra list of examples relating to the Jewish people and Israel - Mr Gwynne said: “We have written into the rules the international definition – but in terms of the examples we don’t think these examples go far enough.
“We want to work with the Board of Deputies and with the Jewish Leadership Council to write into Labour Party rules a much broader definition of antisemitism that goes beyond that, including terms like ‘Zio’ which quite frankly are abhorrent and insulting.”
But Mr Marr pressed Mr Gwynne on his party’s failure to adopt other areas of the IHRA definition – including those involving Jews being held collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel.
Mr Gwynne added: “Let me make it clear – I spoke in the Commons antisemitism debate. I made it clear that in a democracy it is right to criticise any nation – just as we would criticise the British government, the actions of the British government, it is right where appropriate to be able to criticise the actions of the Israeli government.
“Criticising the Israeli government is acceptable in a democracy.
“Criticising the people of Israel or Jewish people across the world is not. That is the fine line.”
Last week the JC revealed how a rift had emerged between the Board, the JLC and the Labour Party after last Tuesday’s meeting between the groups.
JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein accused Labour of “a backtrack” over the adoption of the IHRA definition.